The Cypriot Bank AstroBank, majority owned by Lebanese capital including the former CEO of BLC Bank, is said to have acquired the local subsidiary of Bank Byblos, Byblos Cyprus, founded in 1984 for an undisclosed amount. This transaction could be used to save time for Bank Byblos, faced like all Lebanese banks with significant liquidity crises following the economic crisis, which came to light in November 2019 following the establishment of an informal control of financial institutions. capital by the Association of Banks in Lebanon.

They note, however, that the restructuring of the banking sector and the disappearance of some current players by merger, liquidation or even bankruptcy is inevitable because of the scale of the losses of the banking sector, estimated by the Mikati III government at 69 billion dollars. , to 83 billion dollars by its predecessor and to more than 103 billion dollars by certain rating agencies including S&P.

For Lebanese banks such as Byblos Bank or Bank Audi for its Egyptian subsidiary or SGBL for Jordan, this would be to gain time until the rescue plan for the banking sector is formalized, a plan that has been waiting for several tens of months.

This information comes after the Cypriot Central Bank had requested in December 2020, the transfer of all deposits held by Lebanese banks to its accounts in order to preempt any fraud concerning them.

Focus

The report published in 2020 by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and entitled Crisis in Lebanon, Anatomy of a financial Collapse considers all the Lebanese banks studied as insolvent. They are also threatened by legal proceedings, accused of money laundering and because of the link of certain establishments with Hezbollah in the USA.

• Bank Audi SAL
• Bank of Beirut SAL
• Bank of Beirut and the Arab Countries SAL
• Bankmed SAL
• Banque Libano-Française SAL
• BLOM Bank SAL
• Byblos Bank SAL
• Lebanese SAL credit
• Fenicia Bank SAL
• Fransabank SAL
• IBL Bank SAL
• Lebanon and Gulf Bank SAL
• MEAB Bank SAL
• Société Générale de Banque au Liban SAL

Among the banks cited:

In total, the 14 banks taken into account would require an injection of 67 billion dollars, which is far from the maximum sums that Lebanon could obtain in the framework of international aid, that is to say 26 billion dollars (15 billion dollars loans via the IMF and $ 11 billion via CEDRE on the condition of putting in place the economic, monetary and financial reforms necessary to unblock them).

According to calculations made by a foreign expert, all the establishments would require massive injections of funds, going up to 11.9 billion dollars for the BLOM alone, followed by 11 billion dollars for the Bank Audi, amounts today impossible to pay. find in Lebanon itself. The risk of bankruptcy or even complete shutdown is therefore present for these establishments with significant losses for current shareholders.

They could only survive if they merge or haircuts the deposits present.

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